Sullenberger, a registered Republican, reportedly indicated to GOP officials that he did not want to seek a seat in the House of Representatives through his business manager. Republicans had hoped the pilot would challenge second-term Democratic congressman Jerry McNerney, who represents the district that includes Sullenberger's hometown of Danville, California.
The Hill reports that the effort to recruit Sullenberger was led by the head recruiter for the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. McCarthy reportedly asked Rep. Sam Johnson, an Air Force veteran like Sullenberger, to call the pilot about a possible run.
But McCarthy never spoke to Sullenberger, sources told the newspaper; instead, Sullenberger's business manager told McCarthy that the pilot did not want to seek the seat.
Sullenberger's publicist, Alex Clemens, said the pilot is not interested in running for office and is happy flying airplanes.
Asked about the effort, the National Republican Congressional Committee confirmed the contact but said it was casting a "pretty wide net" early in the recruiting process. The group said at Sullenberger is one of "a dozen people" on the list to contact about the seat.
On Thursday, Sullenberger for the first time since January flew the route he had been on when his airplane hit a flock of birds, disabling the aircraft's engines and forcing the river landing.